Harvard opens its 2010 baseball season this weekend with a three-game set at the Stetson Bright House Invitational in DeLand, Fla. The Crimson will open against Notre Dame on Saturday before playing the host Hatters team while wrapping up on Sunday against Kansas State.
The opener provides an interesting matchup as the Crimson goes against a Fighting Irish team that it defeated, 4-0, behind then-freshmen hurlers Max Perlman and Eric Eadington early in the 2007 season.
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The Crimson's lineup will be led by a strong corps of veterans up the middle in junior captain Tyler Albright behind the plate, junior shortstop Sean O'Hara at shortstop, sophomore Jeff Reynolds at second base and junior centerfielder Dillon O'Neill.
Head coach Joe Walsh, now in his 15th season at the helm, is also counting on the healthy return of Perlman and Eadington - whom have been injured throughout the last two seasons. Hampered by a record number of injuries since 2007, the Crimson also hopes for effective return from injuries to relievers Ben Sestanovich and Jonathan Strangio.
If those four are healthy, the Crimson will have what Walsh refers to as an "arms race" for playing time as the team does return impressive group of underclassmen in 6-foot-5 lefty Brent Suter, former Arizona state champion Conner Hulse and closer Jonah Klees to headline a group of pitchers who threw over 170 combined innings as freshmen last season.
Dan Berardo, Dan Zailskas, Anthony Nutter and Zach Hofeld have all been impressive at times in a Harvard uniform and provide versatility while Zailskas, Marcus Way and Reynolds provide pitching and utility capabilities in the field among the returnees.
Always aggressive on offense, opposing teams can look for much of the same this year - and perhaps even more as the Crimson switches tact to a gap power team with small-ball ability.